A new kind of insulated, airtight, windowless, doorless and windowless curtains that can protect the wearer against the cold has been developed by scientists from Oxford University.
They hope to create a better, more effective curtain for everyday life.
The curtains will be available in the UK next year.
The scientists say they have identified two main reasons why indoor curtains are not a good solution for winter comfort: they do not absorb cold enough and they are too small for most people to use them.
This new product is designed to help people, particularly older people, reduce the amount of time they spend outdoors during the winter.
“The main benefit of the new product [is] that it’s extremely thin and airtight and you can wear it on any surface,” Professor Chris Williams, one of the authors of the study, told The Independent.
“You could also use it for making coats and coats can be made of this.”
A small screen that allows the curtains to be easily removed, allowing the user to remove the curtain and put it away, will also be included in the product.
The researchers say this new product should be ready for mass production within two to three years.
The scientists say that if the curtains are successful, it could help reduce the incidence of hypothermia and the overall cost of maintaining a warm home in winter.
Williams said: “We’re also looking at other potential applications for the product: for example, it’s possible that it could be used to reduce the time spent in a vehicle and potentially reduce the cost of maintenance.”
A new kindThe new product can be produced using only a tiny amount of water, making it much cheaper than traditional curtains, which require a lot of maintenance and can be difficult to remove.
However, it does need to be installed inside a room and a few hours in a washing machine before it is suitable for use.
It should be able to withstand temperatures as low as -20C and is designed for use indoors or in an airtight container.
“If it’s available in time, we could see a lot more people choosing these curtains over curtains made from PVC or PVC-coated foam or glass, which are often very hard to remove and hard to keep clean,” Williams said.
Williams is also hopeful that the new invention will eventually be adapted to be used in the real world.
“There’s a lot to be learnt from people in the US and China, where they’ve actually used the new material in their homes,” he said.
The study is published in the journal Science.
The team behind the study include: Professors David Glynn, Christopher Ritchie, Mark Haines, Andrew McGovern and Ian Jett from Oxford, as well as Nicholas Glynn and Ian Hainese from Cardiff University.
The product is being developed by Oxford’s BioEnergy Research Centre.